When Familiarity Breeds Blindness

The term “security assessment” can often be obscure or misunderstood. But the goal is simple- it is to assess all aspects of the security of a building, premise, or campus. Why is this necessary? Shouldn’t the very people who inhabit the building day after day, year after year- such as administrators, teachers, staff, personnel- know the grounds better than anyone? You’d hope so, but this might not always be the case. 

If you’ve ever had a home inspection conducted, you know there are some obvious issues that might come up; however, every homeowner is also surprised to find out there are hidden, and sometimes even  obvious, flaws in their home they just haven’t noticed or realized. Sometimes our familiarity with a space makes us blind to its shortcomings. When you consider active school shootings are on the rise in our country, such blindness means an open door to the vulnerability of a devastating attack. So now more than ever it is imperative that schools, as well as other places of work, assess their security as it relates to their buildings, grounds, and procedures. At Armoured One, our team of experienced assessors are not only a set of “fresh eyes”, but they are eyes that have been trained to detect and then problem solve with recommendations based on research and real-life scenarios (i.e. active shooter attacks, etc.). If you – your school or business – have not taken the time to complete a thorough and effective security assessment, now is the time to take action. This is a crucial first step in improving the security of your premise and, most importantly, those who inhabit it. The following is a brief overview of what you can expect with a security assessment.

What does the typical assessment process look like?

First, the assessment team gathers information from a security-related questionnaire, existing building floor plans and emergency response plans. 

Then the team completes field work with an assessment team visit to the school (or business) during a school/work day. The team’s goal is not merely to evaluate the physical security of a building or property, but to see building conditions in their natural state. This provides greater insight into how the spaces are utilized by inhabitants- a significant aspect of security assessment. Building administrators are always made aware of the site visit and they may have some role in providing input, but typically, the team is escorted by a member of the school facility or safety/security team. During this process, the team will observe and review existing security conditions of the school buildings and grounds.

The team then works to build and write up the report which identifies good existing practices, discloses vulnerabilities, and recommends areas of improvement using an evidence-based approach. The comprehensive report also includes reference standards, statistics, and past incident examples to help schools understand “why” we are recommending certain items. Assessment points are justified by real-life examples and practices. Then the final report is provided to the client during an in-person or virtual meeting with the assessment team.

What is included in the final report?

Within the report, the team aims to identify: 1) good existing practices, 2) vulnerabilities, and 3) recommendations for improvement as they pertain to an active shooter threat. The report includes an assessment of the current Security Technologies, School Resource Officers or Security Personnel, Active Shooter Training, and Emergency Response Policies or Procedures including accountability, reunification, and notification. Photographs may be included in the report as evidence and examples of current security qualifications and concerns. Vulnerabilities and recommendations are provided for each of these areas. Recommendations are drawn from an array of evidence-based data, noting specific examples (photographs frequently included). Since data indicates the majority of attacks can be prevented, the team looks at the existing violence prevention methods used by a school or business, and provides recommendations accordingly. The report concludes with a rating of examined areas providing the client with an idea of where they stand in each area. Finally, the overall security of the school/business is rated on a scale of zero to 100, comparing their security posture to other schools/business. This is a helpful tool for the client, giving them some comparative feedback.

After the report, then what?

It is important to remember that a security assessment is a first step to improving the security of a property. After the report is finalized, the assessment team conducts a debrief with the client, allowing them to further help guide administrators and safety/security decision makers in best next steps. This allows the client to be informed and get connected with Armoured One contacts, who also provide services within the security industry. Furthermore, clients are able to consider some of Armoured One’s product offerings, such as security film, glass, and doors to enhance their security measures as needed.

It’s easy to assume we know our inhabited spaces well, but as so many have come to realize, our level of familiarity can often lead to blindness, and our lack of knowledge when it comes to threats, especially active shooters, means we are ill-equipped to prepare for these threats without outside support. Ignorance is never bliss when it comes to security. Ignorance will only ever lead to regret. Allow our team to help you become more aware and prepared for the worst case scenario, giving you and your community confidence that you will be able to protect your most valuable asset- your people. 

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